November 13 — 4:59 pm, 2013

After counselors, District brings back assistant principals, teachers, secretaries

With the $45 million in state aid released by Gov. Corbett, Superintendent William Hite has restored 40 additional positions to schools.

Nearly half of those — 19 — are assistant principals. The 40 positions are in addition to 80 counselors that were restored earlier.

The Notebook calculates that with each position costing about $100,000 (the assistant principals cost closer to $150,000 each, including salaries and benefits), the restored professionals in the schools will eat up between $12 million and $15 million of the $45 million. The District has yet to provide a breakdown.

The District is still seeking more than $133 million in concessions from the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers and other unions, including the bargaining unit that represents principals and assistant principals, saying that this money is needed to bring back more workers into school buildings. Facing a $304 million shortfall, the District originally laid off nearly 4,000 employees to make ends meet; to date, it has called back almost half of them. But many schools still lack full-time counselors, class sizes have grown, about 50 classrooms have students from two different grades, most libraries are shuttered, and basic materials like paper are in short supply.

In addition to the restored workers, Hite said, he is using part of the money to maintain art, music and sports for the entire school year.

Talks with the union have shown no signs of progress this summer and fall. The PFT contract expired Aug. 31.

The recalled workers started on Monday.

Following is the text of the letter Hite sent Friday to principals: 

Dear Colleagues:

Recently the District received $45 million in funding from the state, which has provided for the restoration of 80 counselors to schools; full-year athletics and music; additional teaching and one-on-one support to our neediest students; and, additional school leadership, management, and operations resources to schools across the District.

With respect to school leadership, management and operations needs, the following staffing priorities were set in collaboration with principals and assistant superintendents after a District-wide review:

  • Assistant Principals:  19  (Bache-Martin, Bartram, Franklin Learning, Furness, Kelly, McDaniel, Mastbaum, Meehan, Military Academy, MLK, Morton, Northeast HS, Randolph, Roosevelt, Sayre, Sheridan, School of the Future, West Philadelphia HS, Willard)
  • Teachers:  6 (Saul, Hunter, McClure, AMY James Martin, Arthur, Martha Washington)
  • Secretaries:  5 (Central, Dobbins, Frankford, Harding, George Washington HS)
  • School Operations Officers:  5 (FELS/Frankford, Lincoln, Masterman, Swenson, shared resource for Learning Network 5 schools)
  • Conflict Resolution Specialists:  3 (Carver, MLK, Morrison)
  • Lead Teachers:  2 (Meade, Robeson)

The District will restore these 40 positions to schools beginning next week. These additional positions will enable schools to: reduce over-enrolled classes; enhance conflict resolution, student support and safety resources; provide schools with additional instructional leadership; ensure proper oversight and management of student activity money, grants and other funds; and provide main office support to help students, parents and the public. The additional funds have also allowed the District to increase access to instructional supports, such as credit recovery and Advanced Placement courses.

As you are aware, even with these funds, many priorities across the District remain unaddressed. We continue to work with our labor partners on finding ways to fund positions that will reduce split classes and class sizes, and provide additional academic resources and student supports to increase academic outcomes.  

Thank you for your continued leadership and support.

William R. Hite, Jr., Ed.D.
The School District of Philadelphia

the notebook

Our news is free to read, but not to report.

support local journalism